Rising Expectations and Dating in the Modern World


This week’s post will provide some food for thought.

The phenomena known as rising expectations has clearly impacted the material expectations of people around the world.

While I realize that our material perspective is only one aspect of the human experience, I believe that we sometimes forget just how deeply our material orientation impacts the interpersonal aspect of our lives.

The “materialization” of romantic partners and relationships

There seems to be a growing trend to “materialize” our romantic relationships.

Add to this the instant access to new potential partners through online dating and social media and it is frankly no surprise that the number of people in stable, committed relationships is dwindling.

After all, if you get bored with the person you are with you can just trade them in for a newer, sexier, more interesting model.

However, each breakup leaves a “scar” in our consciousness. 

Repeated “breakups” can cause us to loose faith in ourselves, our judgment, and in the intentions of others.

People in this camp may not have the eyes to see their “Mr. right” when he comes along. 

Worse yet, “the excessive relationship baggage” that results from repeated and, often traumatic breakups, frequently prevents people from building mutually empowering relationships with people who are actually a good match.


Rising Expectations and Romantic Relationships

We are constantly bombarded with images of how we are supposed to look.

Women are expected to stay forever young, slim, beautiful, and sexy.

Men are expected to stay forever fit, handsome, and sexually potent.

A fair number of women and men I talk with about what they want in a life partner share exhaustive lists of desired traits that no real person could possibly ever match.

Herein lies the crux of the problem.

If you want a real relationship I believe that you are best served by creating realistic expectations.

While I don’t expect people to “settle” for whoever comes their way, I posit that you simply can’t have everything you want in life or in a life partner.

I call this belief: “The YOU can have it all lie”.

Sorry, you can’t have it all.

The Good News:

You can have what actually fulfills you.

That’s actually how we humans are ‘wired’.

What to do instead?

I encourage you to create a living vision that will actually serve you and your quest for love and fulfillment.

I have found that it is most productive to:

  • Begin by getting in touch with your most salient values around intimate relationships
  • Focus on the life you want more than the exact person you want
  • When considering personal qualities of your ideal partner, focus on the core character qualities that will support the kind of relationship that you want and deserve…. Then never settle for less.
  • Strive to develop the core character qualities in yourself that you would most value in a life partner
  • Stay open to possibility
  • Always remember that dating is a process of mutual exploration
  • When things don’t work out, find a way to move on graciously

One final thought   

People grow, change, progress, regress and so on.

Building a loving, mutually empowering committed relationship takes time, collaborative effort, patience, forgiveness, forbearance, and so on.

Instead of seeking the perfect lover, seek to create the perfect love.


Don’t become another broken relationship statistic.

Be realistic, true to your deepest values, and seek to build a relationship that is based on mutual respect, shared goals and values, and a deep mutual commitment.

A relationship that is built on the solid foundation of mutual empowerment can go the distance.

Falling in love is easy; I’ve done so hundreds of times. 

Staying in a relationship when things get challenging is another matter.

Building a relationship where two people are perfected in love is one of the highest callings of life.

Give yourself the opportunity to be perfected in in love.

Do the work.  Get the results.

I sincerely hope that you found this post inspiring and useful.

I welcome your comments and questions.

Live, Connect, Love and Prosper

See YOU next week!

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Comment by LJ
September 17, 2013 @ 6:31 am

Great advice as usual!

Comment by Ron
September 18, 2013 @ 12:55 pm

Dear LJ,
Thank you for the positive feedback and kind acknowledgement.

Comment by Dominique
September 17, 2013 @ 10:07 am

Inspiring? Yes, definitely. Useful? Yes, without question – and nourishing for the heart, mind and soul. Thank you 🙂

Comment by Ron
September 18, 2013 @ 12:58 pm

Dear Dominique,
Thank you for posting a comment and for your encouraging, positive feedback. I am in the process of writing a book on the topic of Emotional Connection. Is there anything that you would like to see me discuss? Warmly, Ron

Comment by stephen light
September 18, 2013 @ 2:30 am

Dear Ron

These two lines really resonate with me:

Falling in love is easy; I’ve done so hundreds of times.

Staying in a relationship when things get challenging is another matter.

I shall ponder on them in service of my clients.

Love & Courage
Stephen Light

Comment by Dominique
September 18, 2013 @ 2:50 pm

Dear Ron

I certainly very much look forward to reading your book when it’s finished. I eagerly await that 🙂

I am sure you will do the topic of Emotional Connection immense justice and will have all the bases covered. What I enjoy currently learning about is the differences in the ways that men and women interpret events, words and emotions. I know that we cannot generalise and really we should just operate from our highest selves anyway, but many of the mistakes I have made in the past have been made due to my lack of understanding of the way in which I may have inadvertently hurt the feelings of men. I did not realise the significance of some gestures or words or actions received and interpreted by men perhaps very differently from the way that I, as a woman, would have interpreted them. I am sure there is a biological basis for some of this, as well as perhaps a cultural one (and variations between cultures).

Any helpful analysis of these differences in interpretation, I suppose from a male point of view would, in my opinion, be very useful. I am still learning and trying to figure it out!

With many thanks and with warmest regards.

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